Here's a piece of what he wrote:
And that's why there'll always be sequels. The money is too easy. All you have to do is pick it up. You can distill the charm out of the original, suffocate what was special about it, use its least relevant cast members for peanuts, lowball every production decision, and ride that sucker straight to the bank, laughing all the way.
Whether a sequel outearns its progenitor (the second "Ice Age" did; "Ocean's Twelve" didn't) is not the point: The point is, the retread almost always makes a hell of a lot of money, because there's a huge audience out there that wants a taste of the original it so loved.
Sequels open big. They may die fast, but they rack up the huge numbers that first Friday night before word of mouth, the market's most powerful movie critic, lashes them to nothingness. Not even Roger Ebert can close a sequel on Friday night.
So, pondering this, I guess I was wondering: what sequels do you think out-do their predecessor? Or are, at least, equals, worthy of side-by-side comparison? The obvious, oft-given answers are: Superman: The Movie/Superman II, X-Men/X-2, Alien/Aliens, Mad Max/Road Warrior, The Godfather/Godfather II, and Star Wars/The Empire Strikes Back...but beyond this widely-accepted batch, are there any others we ought to consider?
I guess From Russia with Love and Goldfinger are both superior to Dr. No. And Star Trek II is superior to Star Trek: The Motion Picture (and Star Trek VI is superior to Star Trek V).
What sequels do you absolutely love and cherish? I've written before on the blog about the "rules" of bad sequels. Which ones do you think overcome those rules? Why? What quality makes a sequel an equal? In the age of TV serials with continuing story arcs, is it even relevant for critics to carp about the unoriginality of film sequels anymore? I mean, TV shows have sequels every week, don't they?
Who among the readership here will argue for the sanctity of RoboCop II over RoboCop? Or Conquest of the Planet of the Apes over Planet of the Apes? Or the superiority of Gremlins II over Dante's original? I'm not advocating any of those positions, but I wonder if there's someone out there dying to debate it...